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Worlds Return to Vegas with a Bang: Vandals (CA) Complete Triple Grand Slam
Sept. 1, 2021
Fran Dowell, SSUSA Executive Director (right), presents an appreciation award to Amber Held, of Las Vegas Events, the Title Sponsor of the World Championships.
LAS VEGAS – The Senior Softball World Championships returned here with the Men’s 55s and 60s age divisions jump starting the largest tournament in the sport, Sept. 16-19.
With the state of Nevada virtually shutdown in 2020 due to the pandemic, the World Championships last year were split between Utah (St. George/Santa Clara) and Arizona (Kingman / Phoenix / Glendale / Mesa).
With teams chomping at the bit to return to the mecca of Senior Softball for the marquee event of the season, the opening session of the tournament featured 185 teams, representing 33 states, with 602 games scheduled to be played across eight divisions.
California and Texas teams tied with three championships each, while Missouri and Iowa teams also brought home titles.
Session one of the Worlds featured seven U.S. National Championship Games, pitting the best from the West against the beasts from the East. The Eastern teams edged out a slim 4-3 advantage over their counterparts from the West.
Just one team would go on to complete the elusive Triple Grand Slam – Vandals (CA), Men’s 60 Major.
The Triple Grand Slam consists of winning the Western/Eastern National Championship, the U.S. National Championship, and the World Championship.
Additionally, a Hall of Fame ceremony was held on the opening day of the tournament, as Paul Salow, of Cathedral City, Calif., was officially inducted into the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame (NSSHOF). Salow was part of the NSSHOF Class of 2020. Salow played in the Men's 60 Major Plus Division as a member of LPC/Dudley (CA).
Paul Salow (with plaque), Kat Ray (Founder of Ms. Senior Universe), Dave "Mango" Meggison
Men’s 55 Major Plus (8 Teams)
Sommerville Softball (CA) - Men's 55 Major Plus Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back World Champions
In the eight-team Men’s 55 Major Plus Division, BPA (PA) cruised passed Sommerville Softball (CA), 28-12, for the U.S. National Championship.
The win gave BPA the No. 1 seed in the bracket, while Sommerville took the No. 2 seed as the runner-up.
Shaking off the loss of the U.S. National Championship, Sommerville Softball registered a perfect 4-0 record in bracket play, including a 39-30 win over Kelleher Firm/LeMay/Blue Mountain (FL) in the championship game.
For Sommerville Softball, this marks the team's fourth straight World Championship title.
Kelleher Firm/LeMay/Blue Mountain won three straight elimination games before falling short in the championship game.
Suncoast/Adidas/Shades (FL) finished in third place, while Speedwerx (MN) rounded out the top four finishers.
Falling short of the Triple Grand Slam, BPA finished in a tie for fifth place, along with Ohio Elite/R Sports/AMR.
Men’s 55 Major (32 Teams)
Rock N Legends 9 (TX) - Men's 55 Major World Champions
In the 32-team Men’s 55 Major Division, Dugout/Mid-Atlantic/Dudley (VA) bested L.A.F (CA), 29-26, for the U.S. National Championship title.
Dugout/Mid-Atlantic/Dudley would fall short of the Triple Grand Slam, as the team was eliminated on Saturday evening.
Eight teams would go on to advance to play on Championship Sunday, with 55 OH MY (CA) and Rock N Legends 9 (TX) in the driver’s seat with unbeaten records.
In the end, Rock N Legends 9 completed an undefeated tournament, going 2-0 in seeding play (entering bracket play as the No. 6 seed), and 6-0 in bracket play, including a 31-20 win over Bad Seed (CA) in the championship game.
Bad Seed got off on the wrong foot, going 0-2 in seeding play to enter the bracket as the No. 27 seed. The team also dropped its opening bracket game, 23-17, against No. 4 seed Aurora Tap House (IL).
Looking to run the gauntlet, Bad Seed did just that, rattling off an incredible eight straight games in the elimination side of the bracket, before running out of gas in the championship game.
After winning their first four bracket games, 55 OH MY went 0-2 on Sunday to eventually finish in third place.
Similar to Bad Seed, Texas Bulls also made a valiant run through the elimination side of the bracket, winning six straight games en route to their eventual fourth place finish.
Wolfpack/Washington Legends and Bond 124/OSS/Phil’s Painting (MA) tied for fifth place.
Men’s 55 AAA (46 Teams)
KC Vintage (MO) - Men's 55 AAA World Champions
In the largest division of the first session, the 46-team Men’s 55 AAA Division, N.E. Merchants (MD) downed Wilsons (ID) 18-12 in the National Championship Game.
N.E. Merchants fell short of the Triple Grand Slam, as the team finished in tie for fifth place, along with Top Gun Phantoms (CA).
Bracket play for the division was split into two 23-team pods – American Pod and National Pod.
Eight teams would eventually advance to Championship Sunday, with four teams in the driver’s seat with undefeated records – Top Gun Phantoms, Alliance/Scrap Iron (CO), Carolina Legends (NC) and KC Vintage (MO).
In the end, KC Vintage polished off a flawless tournament, as the team went 2-0 in seeding and 6-0 in bracket play, including a thrilling 19-18 win over Carolina Legends in the championship game.
Carolina Legends won three straight elimination games en route to their eventual runner-up finish.
Alliance/Scrap Iron finished in third place, while Fossil Fuel (CA) rounded out the top four finishers.
After going 0-2 in seeding play, Fossil Fuel re-grouped with back-to-back wins to open up bracket play. Following a loss to Carolina Legends 15-14, which dropped the team into the elimination side of the bracket, Fossil Fuel strung together a run of five straight victories, before again falling to Carolina Legends, 19-17.
Men’s 55 AA Division (9 Teams)
Salty Old Dogs (TX) - Men's 55 AA World Champions
In the nine-team Men’s 55 AA Division, Longshoremen (VA) outlasted Spin Tees (WA), 25-22, in the U.S. National Championship Game.
Longshoremen would come up just short of completing the Triple Grand Slam, as the team dropped the “if” game, 39-28, against Salty Old Dogs (TX).
After falling to Salty Old Dogs in the winner’s bracket final, 21-10; Longshoremen edged out Canyon West (AZ), 20-19, in the third-place game, and then knocked off Salty Old Dogs, 20-15, in the championship game, forcing the decisive “if” game.
Salty Old Dogs went 2-0 in seeding, and 4-1 in bracket play, avoiding the dreaded double-dip.
Spin Tees rounded out the top four finishers.
Men’s 60 Major Plus (5 Teams)
LPC/Dudley (CA) - Men's 60 Major Plus Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back-to Back World Champions
In the five-team Men’s 60 Major Plus Division, Legacy Sports USA (AZ) took home the U.S. National Championship via its 28-21 victory over Omega IT Services, LLC (VA).
Legacy Sports USA’s quest for a Triple Grand Slam would be derailed by LPC/Dudley (CA).
After falling to Legacy Sports USA, 18-9, in the winner’s bracket final, LPC/Dudley rebounded with a 33-19 win over Minnesota Merchants (MN) in the third-place game. The team then double-dipped Legacy Sports USA, winning both the championship (20-18) and “if” (32-29) games.
For LPC/Dudley, this marks the team's fifth straight World Championship title, winning the touranment every year since aging up to the 60s division in 2017. The team also won the Worlds in 2016 in the 55 Major Plus Division, giving the team six straight overall World titles.
Texas Crush Sixties finished in fourth place.
Men’s 60 Major (30 Teams)
Player on the Vandals (CA) looks to knock one out of the park and lead his team to the Triple Grand Slam
The 30-team Men’s 60 Major Division finally saw a team complete the Triple Grand Slam.
Vandals (CA) defeated Levin/Ameriprise (FL), 15-11, in the U.S. National Championship Game, to enter bracket play as the top seed.
The Western National Champs would go on to complete the full task, going 5-0 in bracket play, including a thrilling 32-31 win over AMR/Salsa Bombers (MI) in the championship game.
AMR/Salsa Bombers went 5-2 in bracket play, with both losses coming at the hands of the Vandals.
Scrap Iron/Rocky Mountain Thunder (CO) won four straight games in the elimination side of the bracket en route to their eventual third place finish.
After dropping their first two games in the bracket, Levin/Ameriprise rattled off five straight wins to round out the top four finishers.
Olympian Athletics (PA) and Xtreme/J&H (MN) finished tied for fifth place.
Men’s 60 AAA (40 Teams)
Texas Heat - Men's 60 AAA World Champions
In the 40-team Men’s 60 AAA Division, Yeahoos (WA) edged out Crossfit/Great Clips (NC), 12-11, in a thrilling U.S. National Championship Game.
Yeahoos would get eliminated on Saturday afternoon, as the team was unable to complete the Triple Grand Slam.
Bracket play for the division was split into two 20-team pods – American and National.
Eight teams would advance to Championship Sunday, with Scrap Iron Xplosion (CO), Claremont Property Co. (OH), Big Daddy’s Donuts (MO), and Texas Heat in the driver’s seat with undefeated records.
The division would eventually come down to the “if” game, as Texas Heat avoided the dreaded double-dip, taking the decisive game, 25-9, over Scrap Iron Xplosion.
Scrap Iron Xplosion had defeated Texas Heat, 11-8, in the championship game to force the “if”.
Claremont Property Co. finished in third place, while Big Daddy’s Donuts rounded out the top four finishers.
Tying for fifth place were Texas Legends and Hitmen/Arizona.
Men’s 60 AA (15 Teams)
Antiques of Iowa City (IA) - Men's 60 AA World Champions
In the 15-team Men’s 60 AA Division, Antiques of Iowa City (IA) double-dipped OKC RedHawks (OK), winning the championship (27-14) and “if” game (19-15).
OKC RedHawks defeated Antiques of Iowa City 16-13 in the winner’s bracket final to punch its ticket to the championship game.
Antiques of Iowa City defeated Lights Out (CA) 37-19 in the third place game to secure its spot in the championship game.
Top seed So Cal Riptide (CA) finished in fourth place.
Tying for fifth place were Arizona Blaze and So-Cal Titans (CA).
The Worlds continue this week with the Men’s 65 through 85 age divisions, Monday, Sept. 20 – Thursday, Sept. 23. The Men’s and Women’s 40 age divisions will follow, Friday, Sept. 24 – Sunday, Sept. 26.
The tournament will conclude with the Men’s 50 (Thursday, Sept. 30 – Sunday, Oct. 3) and Women’s 50 (Friday, Oct. 1 – Sunday, Oct. 3).